Love Week: Love, Home, and Work, and The Videofag Book
February 12, 2018
Welcome to LOVE WEEK, a celebration of love in all of its forms. We're kicking off the week with a bittersweet excerpt from Jordan Tannahill and William Ellis' The Videofag Book, which chronicles the four years of the then-couple's art space/party venue/home. We also talk to the book's publisher Book*hug, whose own couple- and house-run business meant that they came to The Videofag Book with more than a modicum of understanding.
Jordan Tannahill and William Ellis, from the introduction, The Videofag Book: It’s hard to say at what point we became comfortable with arriving home to find our bedroom converted into a bustling dressing room, our mattress caked in mascara, bobby pins, and fake eyelashes. Or walking into the bathroom to find it transformed into a set and props workshop, the bathtub filled with used paint pans and rollers. Or finding strangers passed out on our couch in the mornings, and glitter fused into every seam of the house, as if in its DNA. But at some point we did. At some point we no longer craved personal space. We no longer needed to close a door behind ourselves. It started to feel like we were living in a polyamorous relationship with the whole city of Toronto. We didn’t need privacy because we had one another. In the midst of the ever-raging sea that was Videofag, we found a quiet, resolute island for two. And each night, after we locked the door and turned off the lights, we crawled onto that island and held each other. But in time, the sea found ways to encroach on it. The hours we used to spend lying in bed watching Twin Peaks became replaced with late nights repainting the gallery and mopping up puddles of spilt beer and helping artists install a hundred pounds of granulated cork on our floor. Gradually, over four years, the water rose without us even realizing it. It rose until whatever we had been as a couple independent of Videofag was drowned.
Jay MillAr, Book*hug publisher: When William and Jordan approached Hazel and myself with their idea to publish a book about Videofag, we thought it was a great idea. Not only would it place a record of their important DIY performance space into the world, but it would be a testament to their lives together. Working with them would also join two houses: Videofag and Book*hug, and there is a little spark that happens when we see our curiously similar names together. And it seemed fitting for two organizations to bring their homes together. While running Videofag, William and Jordan had allowed hundreds of people into their home to create and celebrate art; we had even held launches for Book*hug books and chapbooks at Videofag. And Book*hug is run out of another home, where Hazel and I work to publish books among the kids and the pets and the dishes and the laundry. We have even hosted many a reading ourselves, inviting people into our home to celebrate literature. Publishing The Videofag Book with Book*hug seemed a perfect fit, bringing homes and lives and art together. And wonderfully, Book*hug was able to launch The Videofag Book in the space that once was Videofag, and it was such a lovely evening filled with all the people who had been part of Videofag, and continue to do so because they populate The Videofag Book.
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Thanks so much to Jay and Hazel at Book*hug for getting meta with
The Videofag Book. Stay tuned for more lovey-dovey (and less so) reading this Valentine's week.
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.